French Lentil Salad
- 3/4 cup green lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 8 ounces firm tofu, frozen and defrosted (see Note)
- 3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 2/3 cup fresh, canned, or defrosted corn kernels
- 1/2 cup chopped mint
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine lentils, bay leaf, garlic, basil, and thyme in a saucepan. Add 2 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the lentils are cooked, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the heat, and discard the bay leaf.
Tear the tofu into 1/2-inch pieces. Mix it into the hot lentils. Add the tomatoes, onion, corn, and mint, along with the vinegar, lemon juice, and oil. Mix to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve at room temperature. (The salad will keep for up to 2 days, covered and refrigerated.)
Note: After it is defrosted, frozen extra firm, firm, or soft tofu is like a chewy sponge. It is ready to soak up the flavor in sauces, soups, chili, and pasta dishes because the freezing process draws out most of the water.
To freeze sliced tofu, arrange the slices in one layer on a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap, leaving 1/2 inch between slices. Freeze, covered with wrap or foil. Once frozen, store the slices in a plastic bag.
Defrosting the tofu in a bowl of lukewarm water gives it a springier texture than defrosting it on a plate in a the refrigerator or letting it defrost at room temperature. When it has defrosted, squeeze the tofu gently to eliminate the water remaining in it.
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